Tim Huelskamp

Primary Challengers Aren’t Always More Partisan in Congress
Some successors have been more willing to work across the aisle

Ayanna Pressley defeated Rep. Michael E. Capuano in the Democratic primary in Massachusetts’ 7th District earlier this month. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

It’s often said that conservative challenges to Republican incumbents in primary elections — the prime example being Dave Brat’s victory over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014 — have led to more polarization in Congress, with the challengers less willing to compromise than their predecessors.

Now that two incumbent Democrats, Michael E. Capuano of Massachusetts on Sept. 4 and Joseph Crowley of New York in June, have fallen to upstart challengers, it raises the question whether the phenomenon has now spread to the Democratic Party, foreboding even more dysfunction at the Capitol.

John Boehner Wants Everyone to Know He Had a Great Summer
Former House speaker has traveled cross-country fundraising for congressional Republicans

Former House Speaker John Boehner has spent the summer driving his RV across the “asphalt prairie.” (@SpeakerBoehner via Twitter)

Former House Speaker John A. Boehner is traveling cross country to support Republican incumbents this election.

On Sunday, Boehner tweeted a video of himself driving his RV called “Freedom One,” while singing his signature “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

Outside Groups See Validation of 2018 Strategy in Lipinski-Newman Race
Allies of both Newman and Lipinski celebrated this week’s close result

First-time candidate Marie Newman, center, narrowly lost a primary to Rep. Dan Lipinski. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Outside groups that spent on either side of Tuesday’s close Democratic primary in Illinois’ 3rd District are feeling energized by the results as they look ahead to the midterms and beyond.

Seven-term Rep. Daniel Lipinski narrowly defeated first-time candidate Marie Newman on Tuesday in a race that only looked competitive in the final months of the campaign. He finished with 51 percent of the vote to Newman’s 49 percent

Is Trump Capable of Picking Primary Fights With Incumbents?
Threats could embolden House hard-liners, Republicans say

President Donald Trump has tweeted about challenging members of the House Freedom Caucus, led by North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There are primary threats, and then there are primaries.

President Donald Trump’s tweets last week calling for House Freedom Caucus members to be challenged have left the political class scratching its head and pondering alliances that defy conventional logic.

Freedom Caucus Isn’t Backing Down After Trump Threat
Conservatives say they’re up for any challenge from the right

House Freedom Caucus member Trent Franks said if President Donald Trump wanted to find someone to challenge him from the right in 2018, he was welcome to try. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If President Donald Trump’s intention was to intimidate House Freedom Caucus members with his assertion on Twitter that “we must fight them” in 2018, it didn’t work.

“If somebody can get to the right of me in the primary, God bless him,” Freedom Caucus member Trent Franks said.

House Freshmen to Watch
115th Congress provides a platform for ambitious new members

Kihuen, left, comes to Congress with a record of success in Nevada, and the blessing of former Sen. Harry Reid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Not all freshmen are created equal.

While there is always a learning curve for new members of the House, some of the newly elected come to the institution with an enhanced profile. This could be because they are former statewide officeholders, or perhaps scored a big one for the team by knocking off a longtime incumbent. Maybe they are natural leaders or their ambitions are such that they are already looking at other federal offices. 

Freshmen Backed by Freedom Caucus Aren’t Committing to Joining
Caucus leaders expect some non-freshmen to help replenish their ranks

The political arm of the House Freedom Caucus backed Indiana Republican Jim Banks, but he has not yet decided to join the caucus if invited. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Freedom Caucus is currently down seven members from the 114th Congress — and possibly two more.

South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney is awaiting confirmation as President-elect Donald Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget.

GOP Opposition to Trump Could Spark 2018 Primary Challenges
Conservative Trump supporters have already targeted Martha Roby and Jeff Flake

Alabama Rep. Martha Roby won her safe GOP seat by just 9 points in large part because of a write-in campaign inspired by her opposition to Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Alabama Rep. Martha Roby was projected to easily win a fourth term in her safe Republican district Tuesday. She did win — and comfortably. Just not by Alabama standards. 

Roby carried less than 50 percent of the vote in the state’s 2nd District, defeating Democratic state Rep. Nathan Mathis by just 9 points. All the other Republican members of the Alabama delegation either won their districts by more than 30 points or ran uncontested. Both Sen. Richard C. Shelby and President-elect Donald Trump carried the state by nearly 30 points. 

Word on the Hill: Showing Some Love at the White House
Veterans Day and Movember

Washingtonians are taking the White House on Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Happy Veterans Day!

There’s a candlelight vigil at the White House on Saturday to show some love.